Tag Archives: Dentists

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ADA Humanitarian Award deadline extended to September

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2020 has been a doozie so far, hasn’t it? And as the nation continues the process of recovery from all that has been dealt out so far this year, the American Dental Association is making plans to give one of its highest humanitarian awards next year.

Nominations for the 2021 ADA Humanitarian Award can be made through Sept. 15, 2020. This year’s focus will be on domestic service and will come with $10,000 to be given to the dental charity or project of the recipient’s choice. For 2021, the ADA Board of Trustees is modifying the award just a little to highlight volunteer participation in care programs within the U.S., with the change prioritizing sustainable dental health programs that benefit communities stateside, not anywhere in the world.

The ADA Humanitarian Award traditionally has recognized member dentists who have dedicated a minimum of 10 years to improving the oral health of underserved populations both stateside and/or overseas. This honor goes to someone who has contributed to alleviating human suffering and has exhibited notable leadership in the field of dentistry.

“The Humanitarian Award is one of the highest honors the Association bestows on an individual,” said Dr. Richard A. Stevenson, chair of the ADA Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention. “Every year, the recipient’s actions continue to inspire the rest of us to fulfill the most meaningful aspirations of the profession by helping those who need care when so often it can be hard to be found.”

Criteria for Award Nomination

Dr. Stevenson looks forward to learning about all the dentists across the country who are making a difference every day. “Volunteerism often brings out the best of all of us,” he said.

Criteria for the 2021 ADA Humanitarian Award include:

  • Demonstrate significant leadership and outstanding humanitarian volunteer accomplishments that bring honor to the profession of dentistry
  • Contribution to alleviating human suffering and improving the quality of life and oral health of individuals in the U.S.
  • Exhibit a commitment to humanity and selflessness without regard to direct personal or organizational gain or profit
  • Serve as an inspiration to the dental profession, colleagues and patients
  • Establish a legacy and/or sustainable program that has ongoing value and benefit to others

How to Nominate Someone for the ADA Humanitarian Award

Anyone may nominate any active, life or retired ADA member in good standing by submitting a nomination for consideration. The nomination does not have to come from a dental professional. Even patients can nominate someone! Any nominations received after the Sept. 15 deadline will be placed on file for consideration the following year.

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Dentists urge aid for dental practices in next round of federal stimulus

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Dental practices across the nation are just one category of small businesses that have suffered, both economically and logistically, due to the near-national shutdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. And as lawmakers are working on the next relief package, the American Dental Association, on behalf of its 163,000 members, is urging Congress to include language to assist the dental industry in the process of recovery.

The ADA is making a few key recommendations to legislators:

1. Increase flexibility within the Paycheck Protection Program. ADA representatives are asking that the loan forgiveness guidelines allow individual small businesses to make their own decisions regarding payroll and staffing based on individual plans to reopen.

Dentists would like to see Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan funds allowed for purchasing additional personal protective equipment (PPE), making safety improvements to offices, and qualifying for tax credit.

2. Allow nonprofit dental and medical organizations to have access to the Paycheck Protection Program or future small business loan programs.

3. Execute better oversight for the distribution and loan forgiveness process in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for PPP loans to guarantee that only those small businesses that were economically distressed as a result of the pandemic receive the funds and forgiveness.

4. Ramp up the production of PPE with more focused distribution to healthcare workers, including dentists.

5. And a big one:Extend the Department of Health and Human Services’ authority to allow licensed dentists to conduct FDA-authorized COVID-19 diagnostic tests until the end of the year.

This last recommendation is an important one as it would help alleviate the burden of hospital emergency rooms across the country who are coping with the pandemic.

Dentists can visit the Legislative Action Center to contact their legislators today regarding these recommendations. For the latest information on COVID-19, visit ADA.org/virus.

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ADA updates PPE recommendations for dental practices

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To help assist and guide dentists across the nation who are reopening their practices as state mandates are lifted, the ADA issued an updated statement and interim guidance April 18 on the specific personal protective equipment recommended in order to practice during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as guidance on ways to minimize the risk of virus transmission.

The ADA is regularly communicating with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other relevant organizations to advocate that dentists should be prioritized for PPE as essential healthcare workers.

Beginning on March 16, the governing organization asked dentists nationwide to postpone non-urgent dental procedures through the end of April in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The recommendation was also made to conserve essential PPE for medical frontline colleagues and first responders. These measures would also keep those patients away from overburdened hospital emergency departments. In other words, emergency dental cases could still be seen in dental practices.

According to the April 18 statement, “The ADA recognizes that local or state government decisions regarding closures, including restrictions regarding elective health care, supersede ADA recommendations. In addition, local and state health departments, state dental societies and, in some cases, large urban local dental societies may better understand local disease transmission rates and conditions and make more informed recommendations regarding elective dental care availability.”

In his daily press conference, President Donald Trump recently indicated that many states will be able to reopen by May 1. On April 16, he shared federal guidelines for loosening some restrictions. State and local governments in some states are now considering reopening certain businesses considered “essential,” which include dental practices, as they slow-roll their communities back into normal operations.

The ADA statement sums it up this way: “The longer dental practices remain closed to preventive care and treatment for early forms of dental disease, the more likely that patients’ untreated disease will progress, increasing the complexity and cost for treatment down the road. The safety of patients, dentists and dental team members has been and always will be ADA’s utmost concern.”

With its recently formed ADA Recovery Task Force, the ADA is adding additional resources regularly. You can find all ADA guidance at ADA.org/virus.

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Study: Sweet tooth gene related to lower body fat, with some caveats

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FGF21, or fibroblast growth factor 21, is a hormone secreted by the liver. It suppresses sugar and alcohol intake, stimulates the uptake of glucose by fat cells, and acts as an insulin sensitizer.

At least one variant of the FGF21 gene, rs838133, is associated with higher consumption of sugar and alcohol and lower consumption of fat and protein.

Approximately 20% of Europeans are homozygous for the rs838133 variant, and they consume more sugar and alcohol as a result. But, to what effect? A study published in Cell Reports investigates.

Study Pool

The researchers used data from 451,099 participants in the UK Biobank — all had Caucasian European ancestry.

The UK Biobank houses data on 500,000 people between 37 and 73 years. Biobank data was collected between 2006 and 2010 using surveys, interviews, anthropometric measurements, blood pressure readings, blood, urine, and saliva samples.

Sweet Tooth Gene and Body Fat

The good news for those with the “sweet tooth” gene is that the gene is associated with lower levels of body fat. The researchers of the abovementioned study reported lower levels of body fat “equivalent to 20g in a 100 kg person with 40% fat.”

The bad news is — the rs838133 variant is associated with a higher waist-to-hip ratio, meaning individuals with the “sweet tooth” gene are more likely to have an apple shape — a shape typically associated with adverse health effects.

Sweet Tooth Gene and Diabetes, Blood Pressure, and Heart Disease

The “sweet tooth” gene was associated with high blood pressure. Yet, there was no association between the minor allele variant and Type 2 diabetes. There was also no association between the variant and heart disease.

Sweet Tooth Gene, Circadian Rhythms and Physical Activity

In a separate analysis, the researchers conducted a “phenome-wide association study,” looking at the associations present between the FGF21 variant and 82 traits in the UK Biobank. The variant was associated with an evening chronotype and lower physical activity levels.

Don’t Go Hog Wild on Sweets Just Yet

What do the results of this study mean? Here’s a breakdown:

Having intense cravings for sweets doesn’t necessarily mean you have the “sweet tooth” gene. That said, if you do consume more sugar than the average person, there may be a genetic explanation for that behavior.

Although individuals with the FGF21 variant consume more sugar and alcohol, they don’t appear to have an increased risk for heart disease or diabetes, and while they may have a lower body fat percentage, they also tend to have a higher waist-to-hip ratio.

These findings are interesting because, typically, the apple body shape is associated with an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes.

The results of the study don’t permit us to eat as much sugar as we want. There’s still plenty of evidence to suggest that a diet low in added sugar and high in fruits and vegetables is best.

Furthermore, the difference in body fat between those with the gene variant and those without wasn’t huge. You can’t expect to eat lots of excess sugar and stay thin.

There is, however, reason for FGF21 to be further assessed as a gene-based therapy for specific health conditions.

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Ranking of world’s best dental schools features significant international representation

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Is America still the superpower it was in years past? We’ll let world leaders and political commentators battle that one out, comparing the military might and economic muscle of the U.S., China and Russia.

But in the field of dental education, America doesn’t seem to be shining as brightly as some of our global neighbors. This year’s QS World University Rankings shows a clear message that some of the world’s best dental education can be found in other parts of the globe.

While the United States had 12 schools in its top 50, the United Kingdom had seven, including King’s College London Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences in the top slot.

The survey company ranks schools based on their academic reputation, taking into account the responses of nearly 95,000 academics worldwide. It also uses employer reputation, based on nearly 45,000 survey responses from global graduate employers. And, it uses research citations per paper and “h-index,” which measures the productivity and impact of published work that comes out of that institution.

The Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam, which tied with King’s College London for second place last year, took second by itself this year. The University of Michigan School of Dentistry was third overall and the top American school, moving up from fifth place last year. Fourth and fifth place went to the University of Hong Kong and Harvard University, respectively.

The other American dental schools that made the cut to be included on the distinguished list include:

Take away

American undergrads planning to pursue a career as a dentist may want to consider studying abroad when selecting the dental schools where they plan to send their applications for enrollment.

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COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress has implications for dentists

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In a month otherwise filled with tough news, Congress passed a $2 trillion stimulus package that is designed to help people, states and businesses all across the country that are devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act — or CARES Act — passed the Senate on March 25 and the House on March 27.

Following the Senate vote, the American Dental Association reached out to member dentists.

Dental Industry Implications

Following the Senate vote, the American Dental Association (ADA) reached out to member dentists. In the communication brief, ADA President Chad P. Gehani stated, “For the last few weeks, the American Dental Association has advocated on your behalf as federal lawmakers debate the best way to respond to the deepening economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Congress is finalizing legislation that could support dentists during these exceptional circumstances.”

Dr. Gehani shared the provisions in the bipartisan legislation that the ADA believes are the most critical for dentists, dental students and dental practice employees. They are as follows:

Economic injury disaster loans. There are a number of Small Business Administration loans available to dentist owners. One loan, in particular, is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, which establishes an emergency grant to allow a dental practice that applies for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan to receive an advance on that loan of no more than $10,000, which the Small Business Administration must distribute within three days.

The money may be used to pay for employees’ COVID-19-related sick leave, mortgage or rent, and other overhead expenses. The grants would be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until the $10 billion fund is exhausted, and applicants would not have to repay the money even if they are denied the loan.

Loan forgiveness for certain small business loans. Employers may be eligible for a portion of their federal small business loans to be forgiven for amounts spent for certain payroll, sick leave, family leave and other overhead expenses between Feb. 15 and June 6.

Additional SBA loan payments. The Small Business Administration will pay the principal, interest and any associated fees that are currently owed on 7(a) loans, 504 loans and microloans. This would be for a six-month period starting on the next payment due date. Loans that are already on deferment would include an additional six months of payment by the Small Business Administration beginning with the next payment.

Retirement account withdrawals. The bill allows for a withdrawal of money from retirement funds of up to $100,000 in 2020 without paying a tax penalty if the dentist, their spouse or dependent are diagnosed with COVID-19, or experience adverse financial consequences as a result of being quarantined, furloughed, laid off or having work hours reduced due to the viruses.

Student loan interest deferral. Federal student loan borrowers would not be required to make a payment through Sept. 30. During this time, no interest would accumulate on those federal loans (payment suspension applies only to loans held by the Department of Education, not private loans).

Income tax break for some employees. Employee borrowers of student loans that receive assistance from their employers in paying off student loans will not have to pay income tax on any payment assistance, up to $5,250, they receive between the enactment of this law and Jan. 1, 2021.

Deferred Social Security tax. Employers and self-employed individuals would be allowed to defer payment of their employer share of the Social Security tax until Dec. 31.

Federal tax rebates. The bill provides for a one-time federal income tax rebate for eligible dentists and their employees in 2020. The rebate amount would be $1,200 for individual tax filers, $2,400 for those filing a joint return and $500 for each child. (The amount of the rebate will be reduced for single filers making more than $75,000 and joint filers earning in excess of $150,000.)

Increased unemployment benefits. Emergency unemployment compensation benefits will be dramatically increased should dental office employees be laid off. This is a supplement for state-funded unemployment insurance, with the federal enhancement being funded for four months.

Dr. Gehani concluded by urging all dentists to get in touch with their accountants to determine how they might benefit from taking advantage of them. And that once the bill has been signed into law, the ADA will provide a detailed account of all the provisions that affect dentistry.

“These are challenging times, but the ADA will continue to be a resource on important issues for you, your practice, and the profession,” Dr. Gehani said. “This is uncharted territory for the entire dental community, but we will get through this together.”

Visit ADA.org/virus for the latest ADA information on the coronavirus pandemic.

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Spotlight on fluoridation with National Children’s Dental Health Month underway

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2020 is a big year. A big decade. Plus, it just sounds cool, right? In the world of dentistry, 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of community water fluoridation in America.

And since February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, it’s as good a time as any to take a look at the history of water fluoridation, why it’s important and how it helps everyone have a healthier mouth.

A History Lesson

Listen, dental professionals. Don’t check out here and stop reading. I think you’ll like this history lesson. Maybe you already know some of it. But hang in there and I think you’ll learn something new.

In 1945, the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, became the first in the world to fluoridate its drinking water. Go, Michigan! And it turns out, those Grand Rapidians were right. The American Dental Association (ADA) to this day remains committed to fluoridation of public water supplies as the single most effective public health measure to help prevent tooth decay.

Why Water Fluoridation Matters

More than seven decades of scientific research has consistently shown that maintaining an optimal level of fluoride in community water is safe and effective and prevents tooth decay by at least 25% in both children and adults. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even named community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

“Drinking fluoridated tap water supports my granddaughter’s health through proper hydration and by preventing cavities,” said Dr. Bonita D. Neighbors, a former member of the ADA Council on Advocacy for Access and Prevention who also served on the National Fluoridation Advisory Committee. “As a profession, let’s celebrate with our patients and our community one of the top 10 public health achievements of the 20th century, community water fluoridation. As dentists, we know the important role of pediatric oral health on systemic health and disease prevention.”

Coupled with other healthy mouth tips like brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, regular dental checkups and eating a healthy diet that limits the sugary stuff, drinking fluoridated water can help you have a healthy smile for a lifetime.

Resources for Your Practice

Free posters — with English on the front, Spanish on the back — about National Children’s Dental Health Month, and specifically about water fluoridation, are available to order on the National Children’s Dental Health Month website, ADA.org/ncdhm. They can also be downloaded and printed in poster and flyer size.

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Volunteer dentists needed for aid in Puerto Rico

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A nonprofit medical organization called International Medical Relief is sponsoring outreach trips to Puerto Rico in response to the recent earthquakes that have devastated the region. The U.S.-based nonprofit provides mobile medical clinics and sustainable health education to underserved communities in 70 countries around the world.

Puerto Rico and other islands sprinkled throughout the Caribbean were struck by a magnitude 6.4 earthquake and several aftershocks early in the morning on Jan. 7, 2020.

Shocking the southern region of Puerto Rico, the earthquake knocked out power in more than two-thirds of the sleeping island. In the aftermath of the earthquake, local families are surviving in the midst of massive setbacks that have stricken the health care structure of the communities, according to International Medical Relief.

Puerto Rico’s GoGo Pediatric Institute invited International Medical Relief to bring teams to the region to set up clinics where education and health promotion will be critical components for long-term sustainability for the communities where the earthquakes have done the most significant damage.

International Medical Relief is looking for dentists to volunteer their time for this effort. Dates and links for more information about the clinic are:

International Medical Relief (IMR) is a registered 501(c)(3) medical organization with NGO status based in the United States. They provide mobile medical clinics and sustainable health education to underserved communities in 70 countries around the world.

IMR offers short-term assignments for volunteer medical professionals and dental professionals, students, and non-medical volunteers to conduct medical and dental clinics that provide free, expert care and health education in areas where it is limited or difficult to obtain.

For more information about International Medical Relief, visit its website. For additional information about international volunteer opportunities, view the ADA’s international volunteer resources.

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Dentist moves to No. 2 spot on best jobs list, per U.S. News & World Report

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There is no single job out there that would be best for every person in the workforce. But many of the best professions do have some attributes in common.

A few of those commonalities: they pay well, challenge us over time, complement our talents and skills, aren’t too stressful, offer room for advancement throughout our careers and offer a positive work-life balance. Whether or not the position is in demand by job seekers is also a consideration in selection.

The job of dentist moved from No. 4 to No. 2 in U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of the 100 Best Jobs, the magazine revealed on its website on Jan. 7.

For the third year in a row, software developer topped the list as the best job overall. After that, all the top spots went to professions in the healthcare arena.

Dentist — which topped the list in 2017 — moved up from the No. 4 position last year. Physician assistant secured the No. 3 slot, followed by orthodontist at No. 4. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons rank No. 9, with healthcare occupations tallying 46 of the 100 best job spots, according to the magazine. The magazine’s news release on the topic stated that occupations in healthcare continue to show promise due to a combination of high salaries and low unemployment rates.

Whitney Blair Wyckoff is a senior editor at U.S. News & World Report. “The world has evolved significantly over the last ten years with how we use and depend on technology,” she said. “So for students who love math and science, we have good news. Our 2020 U.S. News Best Jobs rankings is packed with health care, business and technology occupations. Though you may need a lot of schooling before you get your first job, many of these roles come with high salaries.”

U.S. News & World Report gathered data on nearly 200 jobs from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and conducted some of its own reporting to come up with the Best Jobs of 2020. The magazine considers factors such as median salary, job growth over time, desirability and the opportunity to maintain a favorable work-life balance.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected 7.6% employment growth for dentists between 2018 and 2028. In that period, an estimated 10,400 jobs should open up for dental school graduates.

The magazine also highlighted the Best-Paying Jobs, with oral and maxillofacial surgeons ranking No. 3 and Anesthesiologists topping the list. Dentists made a median salary of $151,850 in 2018, the report said. The best-paid 25% of dentists made $208,000 that year, while the lowest-paid 25% made $107,440.

The publication only highlighted what dental professionals already know. Dentistry is a rewarding, fulfilling career path with many opportunities for growth.

To read the complete list, visit usnews.com.

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International College of Dentists celebrates centennial in 2020

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2020 is a new year for the books. A new year, a new decade; it’s the “Roaring ‘20s” again!

The International College of Dentists has its own reason to celebrate in the new year. 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the organization, which was founded in 1920 in Nagoya, Japan.

When Drs. Louis Ottofy and Tsurukichi Okumura first birthed the idea to create the International College of Dentists, likely they never imagined that the inaugural number of 250 fellows would grow to more than 12,000 fellows in 122 countries. It’s the International College of Dentists, after all.

The ICD will celebrate that growth in 2020 with 100th anniversary celebrations all over the world and throughout the year, culminating at the 2020 meeting of the International Council in Nagoya, Japan, in November with an international induction ceremony, gala banquet and other commemorative events.

“I am so excited to have this special opportunity to serve all fellows of our global 100-year-old organization as international president,” said Japan’s Dr. Akira Senda, ICD international president. “I believe that we are very fortunate to have the valuable and rare opportunity to participate in a historic celebration to honor the first 100 years of the International College of Dentists.”

The organization is focused on improving access and quality of oral health across the globe and is also a professional society of shared interests and values. “This is a unique group in which there is the absence of an atmosphere of competition and the need to show how successful one is or how many papers one has published,” said Dr. S. Dov Sydney, ICD international editor and director of global communications as well as general chair of the worldwide centennial committee. “The ICD promotes a collaborative, sharing relationship guided by the universal principle that all members are equals regardless of their national origin, culture or language.”

Dr. Sydney looks forward to the future of the ICD. “The fact that we grew from a concept first established by a Japanese dentist and an American dentist 100 years ago endeavoring to have an international organization to today, with the largest footprint of any dental honor society in the world, says a great deal,” Dr. Sydney said.

To learn more about centennial events in the U.S. and Japan, visit ICD100.org.

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